Recent Works

Of Blurry Claims and Forms (2012)The city seems nicely messy with an overlap of objects, activities and smells. Its logic gets structured through numerous and simultaneous claims: of shop owners, two feet shop keepers, vendors, pedestrians, car owners, buyers, and of causal walkers. Its form is shaped by constant morphing and mutation of building envelopes, plot shapes and street edges where boundaries are made, erased and remade continuously. This is the context of blurry claims and forms, where much of the city – its enterprise, property relationships and much of its life – gets worked out. It is these blurry condition that not only make the city, but are the city... Read Further

Provisional Practice (2011)In the urban landscapes of India, spatiality is characterized by diffusions, where building envelopes morph, plot shapes mutate and street edges blur. For example, we find shops and houses that multiply into themselves – where several of these exist within one. These then flow into pavements, which in turn not only accommodate such houses and shops, but also pedestrians and a number of enterprises – fixed and temporary, that further spill into the vehicular carriage way. This spillage is also not one-directionalRead Further

In Praise of Incoherence (2011)In urban studies, in the name of ‘writing local histories’, ‘asserting identity and social existence’, ‘getting rights and entitlements’, ‘mobilizing resistances’ and more generally ‘mapping’, there seems to be an increasing obsession to voyeuristically engage with practices that exist in the crevices of formality and legality. The nature of this engagement is extremely dangerous to the practices as, firstly, it exposes them and, secondly, makes their mechanics legible to all kinds of scrutiny, putting them further at risk of erasure.Read Further

The Production of Public (2011)The idea of ‘public’ is central to urban planning. Most decisions in planning processes are taken in the name of ‘the public’. Public infrastructure, public spaces, public amenities, etc. are commonly used terms in the planners’ vocabulary. Public here is agreed as ‘all people’ or ‘everybody’. There is an ‘entirety’ promised in the idea of the public, which is understood to be a clear entity. As any ambiguity or complications in the idea of public would destabilize planning, conceptual discussions on this subject are taboo for the discipline.  Hence there is a conceptual closure of the idea ……Read Further

Politics of Redevelopment (2011)In the early 1970s, large numbers of slum dwellers were relocated to different parts of Mumbai from their original places. These relocations were either to the outskirts of the city or to places with low land values at the time of displacement or to any land available to the Government. The displaced slum dwellers were either provided houses or land pitches (where they were to build their own houses) or accommodated into transit camps to be relocated at a later stage … … Read Further

Ganga Building Chronicles (2011)Bhauji Jayakar believed that he was being fair when he divided his fields between his two sons in unequal sizes. He had ensured that both sons would get equal yield from their lands. Before distributing his land, he had neatly divided it into small parcels, and measured the yield in each of these. Some yielded less and some more depending on the condition of soil, water, etc. He had then clubbed the parcels into two sets such that the total yield in each of these sets was equal. So, while the younger son, Mahadeo got a large piece of rocky, undulating land, his elder brother, Vamanrao got a flat, fertile, smaller piece. The yield in both however was sameRead Further

The De-Mapping Project – ‘Stories of Here’ (2010) … … Both of these – the GIS and the alternative mappings – today have created a context of Hyper Mapping. It has become difficult to hide from the map. Escaping the map was a strategy to survive for many. It is difficult to understand how the Police, the Municipal Authorities, the Pollution Control Boards, the Human Rights Organisations, the Environmentalists would respond after seeing a movie on street side video parlor; or a blog on jari workers; or a story of setting up house in a slum; or photographs of breaking down a ship; or a video on extracting metal from highly toxic wastes; and various other stories that may not be completely approved within the boundaries of legality and formality. The ambiguity about their existence and the difficulties of dealing with them allowed them to be overlooked – either knowingly or unknowingly …. …. Read Further